Teddy Bridgewater was, no doubt, one of the best football players ever at the University of Louisville. Not only were his performances a thing of beauty, the intangibles he brought to the college game made him even more valuable. He out worked everyone, focused on the tiny details, taught his teammates, stayed humble, and exuded nothing but class while maintaining a belly full of fire and fierce competitive spirit. More importantly, as a player, he demanded perfection from himself. These are rare traits to find in young men, especially in the media-hyped-look-at-me world we live in.
How do the Cardinals replace that? From the individual player taking that initiative, that’s too rare a trait to replicate consistently. Enter Bobby Petrino. A self-admitted football junkie, master of details, and one who not only expects perfection but demands it. While all coaches claim this to a degree, he and his staff have exhibited this during his 9 previous years as a head coach.
During the past two seasons, the QB Rating at U of L averaged 163.08. Petrino’s teams over his nine years as head coach averaged 150.61. Keep in mind the average pass efficiency rating since 2003 is 128.0. The difference between the Bridgewater era and moving forward successfully will be the balance of the offense and how the coaches instill that work ethic and attention to detail into the players.
While Petrino is “hyped” for a high octane passing attack, he runs the ball equally as much. In fact, in his 9 years his running plays are 50.6% of the total offensive plays. Interestingly, at Louisville, Petrino ran the ball on 55% of the plays. While during TB’s last two years the run to pass percentage was nearly 50/50, it produced only 31.3% of the total offense versus nearly 43% of the Petrino offenses at Louisville. Listen to the interviews about his philosophy….every time he says
“…..we’re going to run the football…..”.
It is clear he practices what he preaches. Including his lean first year at Arkansas, Petrino has run for an average of 174 yards per game and his teams carried an average of 4.7 yards per run attempt (212.7 and 5.1 at Louisville). The last two years, TB could only rely on less than 135 yards per game and a 3.8 per attempt average on the ground. Part of this was the coaching philosophy of ball control, but the pressure put on the QB position required the caliber of a Teddy Ballgame to execute effectively.
If Bobby Ball can be executed as history dictates, the pressure will be considerably less on the QBs and this under-the-radar team will be on everyone’s big game list sooner than later.
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